Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Opens Facility for Entrepreneurs
The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has opened a new facility to expand opportunities for new products, ideas and companies on the Central Coast.
The new 4,100-square-foot space, named the HotHouse Annex, is at 75 Higuera St., in the Pacific Coast Center, in San Luis Obispo. The space will serve to provide a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, expand entrepreneurial infrastructure, and promote commercialization of products while continuing the CIE’s mission of developing potential new companies — all to help mitigate the economic impact to the region as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. implements the decommissioning process of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant.
“The HotHouse Annex will allow the CIE to expand its programming into the manufacturing sector so that we can help to create a more diversified and resilient local economy,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “This project is expected to generate significant impacts for the economic health and vitality of the Central Coast while increasing the CIE’s already-substantial role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.”
The new facility includes a lab for product development that allows for prototyping and early-stage manufacturing. Startups will also have access to CIE resources that include mentors, Advisory Board and connections to angel investors and seed-fund resources.
In addition, entrepreneurs will be able to apply for the CIE Accelerator and Incubator programs as well as the Small Business Development Center — a CIE-hosted program.
The center received the $500,000 grant last fall from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Assistance Program to help fund a lab that will create opportunities for entrepreneurs, including community members, students and faculty, to develop new technologies and accelerate into the commercial sector by forming startup companies.
Adding more strength to the program is a partnership between the CIE and the SLO MakerSpace — an open, collaborative shop and craft center where participants can build projects, teach and take classes, and network with others interested in making things. Startups in the CIE Accelerator and Incubator programs will have access to the SLO MakerSpace, which is equipped with a wide range of woodworking and metalworking tools, ceramics studio, electronics lab, 3-D printers, music studio and more.
“We are proud to partner with the Cal Poly CIE,” said Lorelei Sibet, SLO MakerSpace founding board member. “This is a positive step and powerful addition to diversifying jobs in San Luis Obispo County. Together, we will enable entrepreneurs, startups and innovators to expand locally so they can be a benefit to our communities future job growth.”
The funding for this project will expand the CIE’s focus to include community entrepreneurs and encompass high-tech hardware, software and specialized manufacturing technologies.